Ten Great Reasons to Give to the UUFSMA Endowment Fund
1. All donations have an impact. When considering needs in our world, many people feel deep sorrow but conclude that there is nothing we can do. The scale of inequities and disparities. around us is immense and we seem powerless to stop it. Such despair is understandable, but the facts tell a very different story. While the problems are indeed extreme and widespread, it is easy to forget that together even modest donations can have a powerful impact when pooled together. Even small donations have the potential to drastically improve an individual’s quality of life.
2. Giving benefits the neediest people. There are over a hundred NGOs in San Miguel, and the process of selecting which organization to support can feel like a daunting task. But you don’t have to do all the research yourself. Each year our Fellowship’s Social Action Committee identifies and vets those non-profits within our community that provide targeted effective aid to the neediest among us.
3. Poverty and its associated problems can be solved. Effective interventions can break the cycle of poverty for the neediest people. Preventing and fighting diseases can keep children healthy and in school. Effective healthcare allows parents to continue supporting their families when they might otherwise have to care for sick children or themselves be disabled by debilitating illness. Aid provides those living in extreme poverty with the essential resources necessary to attain a better standard of living. Poverty is a problem that has proven solutions, and giving plays a crucial role in combating extreme poverty.
4. We have the financial resources to combat poverty. When we read statistics about the number of people living in extreme poverty, the scale of suffering can seem immense. But the facts about aid and relief distribution tell a very different story. While many San Miguelenses live below the poverty line, those of us in the Fellowship, relatively speaking, have significant collective resources at our disposal. It is possible to give without diverting resources from other worthy causes without making any significant impact on our own quality of life.
5. Giving makes us happier. Research has shown that spending money on ourselves does not significantly increase our sense of happiness or wellbeing. A Harvard Business School study suggests that giving to others is directly correlated with an increased sense of happiness. The Harvard researchers write: “Happier people give more and giving makes people happier, such that happiness and giving may operate in a positive feedback loop.”
6. Giving brings us closer to creating the world we would want to live in. Even though all of us would like to think that our sense of wellbeing, political freedom, and personal accomplishments are the results of our own efforts, we know that none of these realities are possible without certain essential material conditions: food, clean water, shelter, basic healthcare, and social stability. Inequality leads to violent crime. Giving lets us work toward building a better world—one that’s safer, healthier, more stable, and happier for all of us.
7. Giving works. The fact that extreme poverty still exists causes many people to claim that aid doesn’t work. In fact, effective aid efforts have been repeatedly proven to reduce death rates and suffering in under-served communities. Non-government organizations often rely on independent evaluations to increase their accountability and adjust their operations. Our Fellowship through the Social Action Committee curates those organizations with demonstrated efficiency and effectiveness.
8. Giving is a question of justice. Most of us know that while we may work hard, there are external factors that help bring our efforts to fruition, and these external factors largely depend on where we live. Being born in an affluent nation greatly increases our chances to benefiting from good infrastructure, healthcare, access to education, and the availability of stable jobs. For people born in the Campo, the chances that their hard work will pay off are greatly diminished. They may not be able to work due to an illness for which they can’t afford the treatment, there may not be any work available, they may not have the education required for a job that pays a living wage – the list goes on. Mere daily survival is all-encompassing. This means that people in our San Miguel communities are very often at an unfair disadvantage compared to the more fortunate. Children have no say over where they live or whether they receive an education. Struggling families may take their children out of school so they may contribute more immediately to the family income. This contributes to a cycle of poverty that traps people who may be extraordinarily smart and hard-working, yet beholden to circumstances over which they have no control. Giving to organizations which help people in extreme poverty is essentially a matter of fairness. Once we accept that varying circumstances lead to drastically uneven economic outcomes, we must also recognize that we have an obligation to help those born into the cycle of poverty.
9. Giving is in our nature. Have you ever felt compelled to help someone – a gut reaction as you witnessed a struggle and recognized that you were capable of support? Whether it is a person stumbling on the street or falling on hard times because of illness, whether it is someone close to us or a complete stranger – our first impulse is to help. Most of us will also be familiar with how it feels to fight against our impulse to help. We might resist giving money to someone on the street, not wanting to exacerbate the situation should the person spend it on drugs or alcohol. We also know the guilty feeling after we decide not to help someone who is clearly in need. In San Miguel, the need is more extreme and more complex. With over 100 charities to choose from, it can be difficult to know where your money will be best invested. The best way to avoid the potential pitfalls of aid is to utilize the research of the organizations identified by our Social Action Committee which has been committed to pinpointing the most effective charities in our community for over 33 years. 10. Giving is tax-deductible. Your gift to the UUFSMA Endowment Fund might entitle you to a tax break (the status of an organization may vary from country to country, with some organizations represented in many countries globally). You will receive a receipt for your donations. These tax savings in effect reduce the cost of your donation. For example, an individual in the 15% tax bracket who donates $100 to a registered non-profit receives $15 in tax savings. An individual in the 35% tax bracket receives $35 in tax savings on the same $100 donation.
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende Apdo 798, San Miguel de Allende 37700 Guanajuato, Mexico